OhmniLabs Uses Robots to Make Telepresence a Reality
Monday February 11, 2019
Anyone who has made a video call knows its limitations: holding up a phone or tablet is cumbersome, silences are awkward, and the interaction itself can be a bit artificial.
OhmniLabs uses robots to transform simple video calls into “telepresence,” a more natural and immersive form of communication. The Santa Clara, California-based company designs rolling robots with a mounted display and hardware. A user can call in to the robot, connect, and move the robot around its space using a controller.
While this might seem like a minor difference from traditional video calls, Co-Founder and CEO Dr. Thuc Vu, points out that it actually changes the experience dramatically. “Our telepresence robot makes the experience of being there more authentic,” says Thuc, citing a recent example in which he sent an Ohmni robot to his grandmother in Vietnam. “She can continue cooking, while I drive around, poke my nose into ingredients, pots and pans and ask her questions about her recipes. I don’t have to wait for her to charge a phone or computer, and she doesn’t have to hold up the phone the entire time or sit in front of a desk.”